Bishopric of Blackbirds
From Edge of Darkness Wiki
The Bishopric of Blackbirds believe themselves the salvation of the freehold, positioning members to be there when others need them. That is their first stated goal: to assist those poor Lost (which, to most Bishops, constitutes all of them) when necessary. This can manifest in many ways. The Blackbird Bishops, for instance, often wander the Hedge and look for those who have escaped from Arcadia or who are plainly lost. The Bishops offer their aid, helping those poor souls return to the world. Maybe a changeling has a problem with her fetch, and a Blackbird Bishop will help her come to terms with her “other.” (They won’t help her destroy the fetch, but they will attempt to either forge an understanding between the two, or will instead help her to forget that life and never again try to contact her Fae-made twin.) The Bishops offer guidance to those who are lost, above all. As a changeling, it’s all too easy to lose one’s way, and the Bishopric accepts the role of savior.
The Bishopric doesn’t assert any common appearance or dress code among its Bishops, except for a single bird pendant hammered out of tin and painted black. The order expects its Bishops to wear this pendant somewhere within sight ― usually pinned to a lapel or hung around the neck via a small chain. A Bishop’s mien is a whole different matter. Changes to a Bishop’s mien are at first subtle, with feathers (usually the black and brown feathers of the common blackbird, though some manifest red-tipped feathers or oily blue-black feathers) appearing from beneath sleeves, cuffs and collars. These feathers sometimes drift away and fall to the ground around the changeling’s feet.
The other changes are more extreme. A Bishop’s eyes may take on the round black glassiness of a bird’s. His feet, too, may turn knobby and shriveled, ending in hooked talons. As Wyrd increases, the number of feathers grows before they drop to the ground, left behind for some humans to find. (Humans, too, feel odd in the presence of high-Wyrd Bishops ― mortals grow abnormally superstitious, refusing to step on sidewalk cracks or walk beneath ladders.)
Aspersorium ●● (Privilege)
The Aspersorium is a small, fist-sized container, appearing usually as a small pail or cup. Most such cups feature ornate filigree or scroll work, and are generally made of metal (silver, brass, pewter), though a few are glass and are instead rimmed with metal ornamentation. The changeling puts any kind of water inside of the cup and whispers a few prayers offered to the weave and weft of Fate itself, asking for a moment of lucidity and perspective. The water, now “blessed,” can be flicked onto or sprinkled upon another character’s brow. Upon activation, the blessed water helps restore that person to some measure of sanity. If that person possesses any mild derangements, those derangements disappear for a single scene. If that person possesses any severe derangements, then those derangements downgrade to their mild counterparts (i.e., Paranoia becomes Suspicion) for the scene. The Aspersorium also grants the affected person +1 bonus to any Perception rolls he makes during the rest of the day (until he sleeps).
Drawback: The martyrs of the Bishopric believe that what this token grants to others is able to do so only because it draws it away from the Bishop who uses it. Upon using this, the Bishop suffers a –1 die penalty to any Perception rolls made on his behalf over the rest of the day ― his eyes sometimes sting or tear up, and he may even feel a minor headache stirring behind them. This lingers until he gets at least four hours of sleep. This penalty is cumulative ― if the Bishop blesses a motley of five changelings, the Perception penalty grows to a –5 modifier.
Catch: In addition to the drawback noted above, the character also takes on the target’s derangement (mild or severe, whatever is possessed) for the rest of the scene. If the token is used on a character who does not possess any derangements, then the user of the Aspersorium takes on one mild derangement of the Storyteller’s choice, which lasts for the scene.
The first and perhaps most common way that a changeling joins the Bishopric of Blackbirds is by using his membership to pay off a pledged debt. When offering aid in reward for a future favor, the Bishop makes it clear to most that one way out of the pledge ― a clause to the contract, so to speak ― is to become a Blackbird Bishop. Seeing as how the Bishops are devoted to helping the freehold and preserving Clarity, it serves the order’s goals in the long run to have more members. (Though, again the cruel irony presents itself that some Bishops end up with alarmingly low Clarity without realizing it, and thus they become the ones weakening the fundamental sanity of the freehold.) Otherwise, those who wish to join are usually allowed to join. The other Bishops discuss it, but even if a changeling enters who doesn’t deserve the grace and wisdom of the order, the other Bishops will make him deserve it. They recognize that they’re only as strong as their weakest link, and if that means dragging one of their own headlong into helping others and farming out goodwill through pledges, then that’s what they’ll do. The Bishops have little problem in “motivating” their slacking brethren. Motivation may come at the end of an hours-long lecture ― or from a swift reprimand at the end of a cudgel.